TAMPA (May 04,2023) -On Wednesday, May 3, the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Hillsborough County hosted its inaugural National Small Business Week Business Plan Competition. All pre-venture, startup, or early-stage businesses (1- 3 years in business) licensed to do business in Hillsborough County were encouraged to apply. Applicants sent in their business plan to have a chance at winning cash prizes, donated by financial institutions. Winners also received tickets to the MED (Minority Economic Development) Week Conference and professional headshots provided by Yokie Empire.
“What a great opportunity provided by FSBDC at Hillsborough County,” Janette Blanco, assistant director at the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County, said. “Our inaugural business plan competition was a chance for entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative ideas and compete against other businesses. It was an exhilarating experience for entrepreneurs, as it provided a platform to pitch their ideas and receive recognition for their hard work. Congratulations to all the participants, and especially the winners.”
Out of all the applications received, 10 applicants were chosen as finalists to gather at the Entrepreneur Collaborative Center, located at 2101 E Palm Ave. in Tampa, where they presented to a panel of judges. Judging was based on two components: the business plan itself (with realistic and financial projections) and the presentation (with good timing and oral communication skills). The judges were financial experts provided by three local financial institutions.
First-place winner Michael Jones with Wood and Handz LLC, won a cash prize of $3,000, donated by Valley Bank. Second place winner Michaelle Dorient with Lyndor Labs LLC, won a cash prize of $1,500, donated by GTE Federal Credit Union and Lake Michigan Credit Union. Third place winner, Crystal Greene with Money Greene Solutions LLC, won a $500 cash prize. An honorable mention was also given to Kathy Times, with Kathy Times WOW, who won a pair of Beats headphones. All winners won complimentary professional headshots from Yokie Empire.
About the Florida SBDC at USF
The Florida SBDC at USF helps create a better Florida for all by providing businesses the expertise and resources needed to succeed and grow. The Florida SBDC at the University of South Florida is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide partnership program nationally accredited by the Association of America’s SBDCs and funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida, and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network’s lead host institution. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals.